Sir Richard Branson - Off to Transatlantic Record

Sir Richard Branson in press conference
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One thing Sir Richard Branson has always been good at is publicity - and his new Transatlantic attempt is proving no exception.

With the world watching, he is about to join New Zealander and 2006 ISAF Sailor of the Year Mike Sanderson and Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie, leaving New York tomorrow on his 100 foot supermaxi sailing boat Virgin Money.

They will make an attempt to break the Transatlantic sailing record.


99ft maxi-race yacht Virgin Money
To do it, they must complete the 2,925 mile course in under six days, 17 hours and 39 seconds. This is the current record, set by Robert Millar's 140ft Mari Cha IV in 2003.

The crew, which also includes Branson's son Sam and daughter Holly and an on-board medic, expect that they should be able to knock at least 24 hours of this existing record.

One of the cutest aspects of the sail is that Englishman Ben Ainslie, who has clocked up no less than three Olympic gold medals, has never crossed the Atlantic before.

As departure time approached, they were hoping for a dawn start from North Cove Marina. This would give them a favourable breeze as they cross the start line at Ambrose Light and head for the traditional finish line off the Lizard, near Plymouth on the south coast of England.

North Cove at Sunset
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